Thursday, October 28, 2010

BBQ Tofu

Sooo I haven't been following my blogs as much as I'd like. I think I have 100 unread posts from all the people I follow. School is crazy! I have to focus most of my time on studying, and any free time I have I usually spend with my friends. I've barely touched my new camera as well. Can't wait for some personal downtime on Friday!

One thing I never fail to do is when I'm stressed is cook. It's my little escape. This delicious plate was my dinner on Tuesday night. BBQ baked tofu, steamed broccoli, and a cheesy microwave baked potato.

I used Veganomicon's BBQ baked tofu recipe as a guide, substituting sesame oil for peanut oil and Stubb's spicy BBQ sauce for theirs. I also used a smaller dish when baking (think this also contributed to my "problem," below).

All I can say is wow!  While the tofu was not as chewy as I was expecting (I wasn't really sure what to expect as this was my first time baking with tofu, but I'm sure pressing the tofu a little more would solve my problem), it was 100% scrumptious.

The coolest thing I learned this month was how to "bake" a potato in the microwave. This works with all potatoes. I love eating sweet potatoes as snacks while I'm studying and being able to create a quick, effortless side dish for my meals.

For a medium sized potato, pierce it with a fork several times, wrap it in a damp towel, and microwave 5 minutes. Rotate the potato so the top is on the bottom and microwave another 5 minutes. For smaller potatoes, take off a minute for each period. I wouldn't recommend microwaving a large potato, I tried once and it turned out very dry and gross.

For the broccoli, I've developed a "smell" method. I used to be really concerned with timing everything but now I know it's not that important. Just throw washed and chopped broccoli in a pot with a couple inches of water and cover. Turn the heat to med-high. When you can smell it, take it off! They should be vibrant green and maintain a little bit of crunch. Easy as pie.

Next time I will be posting about food waste, a growing problem in my life. Time for bed! Bye~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peanut Blossoms

On Saturday I made some delicious peanut blossoms from my new cookbook, the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. I actually made them as a birthday gift for Brian, who gave me the cookbook.

I brought them to his party and they were a hit!

It seemed like a lot of work for me, a novice without any fancy kitchen tools. It was just me, the ingredients, and a wooden spoon! I also spilled a lot of flour, oops!

After having made two recipes so far (like that gives me any authority, LOL!), I can say that the cooking time needs to be shortened by a little. On both recipes cooking at the full time yielded slightly burnt cookies! I hope this will not be a problem for future recipes.

Tonight I am making baked BBQ tofu, inspired by Veganomicon, for dinner. I will be posting it sometime later this week. Stay tuned to see how it turns out :o)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birthday dinner; Cookie cookbook

Mmm, I just got done munching on a fajita bowl with refried beans, spanish rice, shredded cheddar cheese, and chicken fajita. Last night I made fajitas but I think I like combining everything in a bowl better! Less mess to deal with, and just as delicious.

My birthday dinner at Olive Garden was a success. Mostly. The waitstaff was nice but slightly incompetent. Two different people broke glasses. One server brought out to go boxes halfway through our meal. And no one remembered the mints! I was overall very happy though because I did get a nice glass of wine with my meal and they brought out a complimentary dessert for me.

Afterward some of us drove to San Marcos to hang out with another October birthday friend at his party. We drank a little and generally had a good time. Until my point and shoot digital camera was stolen :(

What did I do? Take more shots, try to forget it, and dance the night away! And now I can bake tons of cookies, thanks to my friend Brian. He got me the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. This thing is like an encyclopedia! It has about 500 pages of tips, tricks, recipes, and variations. I'm very excited to start trying some out.

Expect many cookie posts in the future ^^

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Fall :)

Thursday night really felt like Fall for two reasons. The weather was very chilly and I made pumpkin cookies! I flung open the front door and proceeded to follow this recipe from Peanut Butter Fingers for two ingredient pumpkin spice cookies.

It is past 11 pm. Abruptly stop studying biology.

Assemble the ingredients.

Clean the pan you found under the oven when you moved in.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Check out how old my oven is, it has an analog clock on it!

Mix ingredients.

Spoon onto oiled or silicon-mat covered pan and bake for 12 minutes. I got about two dozen cookies out of the dough.

Lick bowl and spoons clean :)

Cover in cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, and enjoy.

These tasted good, however they didn't seem appropriate as cookies. They aren't very sweet so baking them in a muffin tin makes more sense to me.

Make sure to store in an airtight container.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The meat industry

It's gross. I don't want to support it. I am going to give up fast food again. Hopefully it will be easy- I can just imagine acres of cows, crowded together in huge pens, standing in feces, eating corn hauled in by trucks.

I don't want to eat cows pumped with steroids and antibiotics.

If you want sources, try PETA or the references or external links on this Wikipedia page.

I won't miss taco bell. Their beef was nasty anyway. What I will miss is Chipotle, but thankfully I don't have to. Most carry meat from supposedly naturally raised sources. Not all the meat is natural. At the Chipotle by my parent's there is a sign telling me the everything except the beef is natural. The one close to my apartment says everything is natural. The website even notes which locations carry what natural choices.

Other places in Austin, like Elevation Burger and TerraBurger, are also good sources of convenient food with a conscience.

I'm off to watch Old Boy and Gattaca with the Boy. Ciao.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy birthday to me, Bevo Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Kombuchaaaaa

My 20th birthday is this Tuesday, the twelfth!

Also known as the real Columbus Day. I don't know why, but sometime during my childhood the government decided to have a Columbus Day observed on the Monday before the twelfth instead (actually I probably just grew up and realized what had been there all along). But I know in my heart that the twelfth is the TRUE day. Anyway.

I decided to buy myself my first DSLR! It's a used Nikon D70 from a friend of mine. I've been wanting a DSLR forever, so this makes me very happy. Now I can take high quality photos of everything I eat!!!

JK. Hopefully this camera will witness the hilarity of my little brother, the funny faces of my boyfriend, amazing concerts, birthdays I won't remember (that's next year though), and everything in between. Of course the first thing I did was change my profile pic. Now you can actually see my face (and nothing but haha).

I am having a birthday dinner this weekend. I really wanted to have it at Eastside Cafe, but they will be booked. Now I can't make up my mind as to where to go!


Don't know Bevo? He has been the mascot for the UT football team since 1917, and ever since there has been an excellent, show worthy white and burnt orange steer named Bevo serving as our official longhorn.

What I've been pleased to find out is that some local Wendy's have been serving the Bevo Spicy Chicken sandwich. When I saw it, I had to try it. And I did. And then I died and went to fast food heaven. It's better than the bacon deluxe (my former favorite Wendy's burger).

The sandwich features a huge piece of spicy chicken, a slice of colby jack cheese, three slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and chipotle mayonnaise all piled on a bun. I ate it with a ceasar side salad (sans dressing and croutons. I like to taste my veggies n_____n) and a cup of water.

Look at that beauty, just waiting to be eaten by a UT student. If you live in Austin and eat fast food (I tried to give it up for a while but I eventually caved in with the help of some drunchies), try this sandwich. It won't let you down. (Unlike the football team this year -_____-)


This is my after dinner treat. It's my first time trying kombucha, tea with probiotics. It tastes like unsweetened tea, with a hint of the peach mango flavoring, and a very tart aftertaste. I wish it was a little less tangy, but overall I like it. I paired it with my guilty pleasure, almond joy. I can never resist buying one at the grocery store check out line.

I am off to wash the dishes and read some British lit. Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Brunch

Currently listening to: Tighten up - The Black Keys
The whole Brothers albums is ridiculously good. Their previous album is also worth checking out. They have an essence of the White Stripes, Raconteours, and a little bit of the Kills and Broken Bells. If you even recognize any of these names, you should listen to the Black Keys.

When I wake up in the afternoon I disguise my laziness by calling my breakfast brunch, as if I chose to eat my breakfast later than usual. It usually works. On rare occasions, usually on a Saturday after a hoppin' Friday evening, I'll wake up at 4 pm and try to call my first meal brunch. But it doesn't cut it anymore. Everyone knows I'm just lazy :)

But today, I am actually eating brunch!

I enjoyed an egg sandwich (turkey, sunny-side up egg, pepper, and a dab of mayo on whole wheat bread), quinoa, and string beans. OK- I lied. I used THREE dabs of mayo, honey wheat bread, and I didn't finish my quinoa or string beans. I actually only had two bites of each before I decided I didn't want them anymore. They just don't taste as good when they're microwaved leftovers.

Doesn't that in-action shot of the sandwich look amazing? The bread soaks up that runny egg yolk and mayo mixture and it is just mouthwatering. My mom used to make me sandwiches like this with egg, sliced cheese, and mayo for breakfast on the first day of classes in elementary school. I took her idea and beefed it up a little with turkey to fuel my college days!

In my first picture you also see a little green pack and some blue pills. The blue pills are my UC medication. I have to take 4 everyday. I don't mind them because I can take them on an empty stomach and not feel nauseous, unlike the green pack...

The green pack has my vitamins. It's designed specifically for women by Nutrilite. Nutrilite carries a wide range of dietary supplements that are organic and all natural. Because they are derived from natural sources and not synthesized, they are supposed to be easier for the body to digest. My pack has 4 pills:

- Daily Multivitamin/Multimineral: Pretty obvious, the basic assortment of vitamins and minerals.
- Ocean Essentials: Fish oil rich in EPA and DHA omega 3's for brain function and blood flow.
- Cal Mag D: This one is specifically in the women's pack. It has calcium for strong bones, copper to promote collagen growth, zinc for bone maturation, and magnesium and vitamin D to aid in absorption.
- Hair, Skin, Nails: Also specifically for women, this pill has vitamin C, biotin, collagen, omega 3's, acerola concentrate, alfalfa dehydrate, glycine, grapeseed extract, horsetail, and l-cysteine. These antioxidants, amino acids, and proteins are the ones found in keratin, which makes up the skin, hair, and nails.

I've found this specific assortment of dietary supplements has really helped me. Before I was diagnosed with UC, I lost a lot of nutrients and experienced bad acne and brittle nails. The multivitamin and HSN pill help with that. The fish oil is good in general for everyone, but also specifically helps those with UC heal and stay in remission. Lastly, the cal mag D is great for me because I find I don't drink milk like I used to. Women need their calcium!

You can read more about the woman's pack, their line of vitamins (for men, weight loss, and sports nutrition), their other products (earth-friendly cleaning products, make up, etc.), and the company's principles at the link above.

The link goes through my Mom's portal-- she's a seller. The company (Amway) works a lot like Mary Kay. If you are interested in anything let me know, my mom will probably be able to hook you up with a discount.

The rest of this lovely Friday I'm going to help my friend unpack at her new apartment. Have a great weekend!